Two suicides in two days have Mandeville High reeling

Two suicides in two days have the Mandeville High community reeling and northshore officials clamoring for more communication with troubled teens.

MANDEVILLE, La. - This story was done to raise public awareness at the urging of health officials on the northshore.


Two Mandeville High School students committed suicide within 48 hours. Thursday, efforts were underway to comfort grieving students and try to prevent any further grief.

It only took 12 seconds of video on Instagram.

"I'm doing this because my morals are totally different from the world around me," said the Mandeville High student. He said he could not live happily anymore and asked people not to mourn but to "please celebrate" his life.

The second teen to commit suicide this week at Mandeville High sent heartache through students, teachers and families. A classmate's mother said students seemed numb.

"The first thing out of her mouth is, 'Mom, he sits behind me in class," said Suzette Brantley, whose daughter goes to Mandeville High School.

Many grief counselors were at the school. Words of love to the two deceased boys, along with flowers, surrounded the school anchor. Wristbands were passed out with connections for help. Messages that there is treatment for this illness, were everywhere.

"I think one of the fundamental messages we need to get out is that, we have to eliminate the stigma associated with suicide. It's a manifestation of chronic disease process that has tragic endings. Virtually all of them, we think of as a preventable death," explained St. Tammany Coroner Dr. Chuck Preston.

The Coroner says we all must talk directly and openly to teens.

"There's no scientific evidence that says you plant the thought of suicide in somebody's mind by bringing the subject up," he said urging parents to ask directly if a child is planning on killing him or herself. 

He says changes such as divorce and remarriage or death of a parent or grandparent, can be overwhelming to a teen's undeveloped brain. So can loss of friends or an interpersonal relationship. The two suicides were unrelated, but according to the coroner, each boy had just lost his interpersonal relationship. It's hard for teens to understand there's a brighter future because the coroner said they live in the moment, and he urged parents to monitor their children's social media.

"What we're seeing more of is not so much suicide notes as suicide texts or postings on Instagram or Facebook, that give some harbinger of something that's going to happen," said Dr. Preston. 

"Although it's a tragedy, some kids who haven't maybe spoke to kids in quite a long time, they pass each other in the hallway, they actually seem to be leaning on each other, which I think is really important for them now," said Brantley.

"So the message is pick up the phone not the gun," said Dr. Preston. 

Suicide is most common in males 14 to 25 and older than 75, who are depressed and feel hopeless.

That Teen Text Crisis Line is 504-777-3273. Teens can text live with a counselor for help.

National Suicide Prevention Life Line 800-273-TALK (8255)        800-SUICIDE (784-2433)   211 or 911

St. Tammany Outreach for the Prevention of Suicide

985-237-5506

stops.la@gmail.com

http://www.stops-la.com/home.aspx


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